Labour Board sets June dates for college part-timers' union vote

Thousands of workers to cast ballots on joining OPSEU

Part-time support staff at Ontario's public community colleges will cast ballots this month on whether to join the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) has decided.

In a June 13 ruling affecting thousands of workers at 24 colleges across the province, the OLRB said it will hold supervised votes from June 20 to 30 on a schedule to be announced.

"This is a great moment in Ontario labour history, and our union is thankful that the board has opted to hold the vote this month," said OPSEU president Warren (Smokey) Thomas. "Part-time college support staff have literally waited for decades to have the chance to unionize.

"Their dream of being able to bargain better wages and working conditions, and create provincial standards for both, is now within reach."

The upcoming representation vote covers thousands of workers and will be the largest in Canadian history, said Thomas. The vote covers all part-time support staff who worked for a college during the 2015-16 school year as well as those who had an "employment relationship" with a college on May 31, 2016.

OPSEU currently represents more than 21,000 full-time support and academic staff at the colleges.

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